Mostafa al-Sawaf, a resident of Gaza, recently posted on social media. His post was about the journey from besieged Gaza to Rafah via Cairo. In this journey, the people of Gaza have to suffer immensely and the profits of the travel companies have to be sacrificed. In his post, Sawaf criticized the journey as a “journey of humiliation”. Within an hour of this post, a call came to his telephone. A man on the other end of the telephone, identified as Hamas, asked him to delete the post. “The border trade is a very sensitive issue for Egypt,” he told Sawaf. Your post could be a blow to the Palestinians. ”
Sawaf deleted the post very quickly. But in the meantime, many people have commented on the post. Those comments reflect the frustration of the people of Gaza. From Gaza to Rafa to Cairo এটি this is the main way for Gazans to communicate with the outside world. The length of this road is 360 kilometers. The route includes crossing the Sinai Peninsula desert, where Egyptian forces are battling Islamic State jihadists. Curfews are in place at night along with some checkpoints. The Suez Canal also has to be crossed on this journey.
In the scorching heat of the desert, the passengers are about to suffocate in the crowded bus. This journey of misery is very difficult. Taking advantage of this opportunity, travel agencies have launched VIP services, which are very expensive. One such travel agency official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP: “This is a disaster for the Palestinians. The average daily turnover is 1 lakh 75 thousand dollars. The Egyptians are constantly creating new pressures. Getting out of Gaza has become very difficult. As a result, they are forced to take expensive VIP services.
Gaza, with a population of 2 million, is a land of poverty. Last May, Hamas fought a war with Israel there. It is very difficult to go to Gaza or come back from there. Israel occasionally occupies Gaza. They have imposed strict restrictions on land and sea routes to and from Gaza. During the second Palestinian uprising, which lasted from 2000-05, Israel bombed and destroyed Yasser Arafat International Airport. Cattle are now on the runway there. Israel does not allow any passenger ferries to dock at the port of Gaza on the Mediterranean coast.
As a result, Gaza’s residents have only two avenues of communication with the outside world. They can go out using the land of Israel or Egypt. Some Palestinians are allowed to do business and work inside Israel. In addition, some are allowed to travel to Jordan if they become seriously ill. It is convenient for the people of Gaza to travel to Cairo via Rafa in the face of this strict Israeli control. But due to its cost and bureaucratic complexity, the route has a notoriety. Palestinians were forced to register a few weeks before the trip. It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post.
Private companies or intermediaries have to be approached to ensure travel. They have to spend hundreds of dollars to get the VIP service they have launched. For a very short time after the start of Hamas rule in Gaza, the Rafah movement was easier. That was in 2013. Mohamed Morsi was then in power in Egypt. Members of the Muslim Brotherhood were somewhat liberal towards Hamas. About half a million Palestinians crossed the Rafah at that time. Which was a record. But that number began to plummet after Morsi’s ouster in July of that year. During the time of the current President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Rafah was open for a while and closed for a while. This is being done by Hamas as a ploy to further their own interests.
Rafa has recently come to Gaza from Egypt using the border, according to AFP. They fear the Egyptian authorities could blacklist them for future travel if their names are released. Ahmed (pseudonym) returned to Gaza from Cairo earlier this year. The distance of this journey should not take more than five hours. But he could not reach Gaza four days ago. At first he rented a taxi. His journey started at 4 am on Wednesday. The driver agreed to go up to Rafa for 130. Their car stopped at the entrance to the Suez Canal. At that time the crossing of vehicles was stopped there. Ahmed was forced to leave his rented car there. He spent the night in a car with five other passengers.
Ahmed said, “The Egyptians opened all my bags at the checkpoint. They confiscated my perfume and cigarettes. My Facebook and WhatsApp profiles go hand in hand. ‘He can easily cross the next three checkpoints. He arrived at the Sinai checkpoint, 50 kilometers from Rafa, on Thursday afternoon. At that time, the Egyptian authorities announced that the road was closed. He had to stay for two days in a filthy house in the nearby town of Al-Arish before the road opened. When he reached the check post after hearing about the opening of the road, it was closed again like that day. He had to stay on that road till the next morning.
Many Palestinians, like Ahmed, have suffered the same fate on the streets of Rafa-Cairo. Sinai has to face the most horrible situation of this journey. The security situation is much more complicated as Egyptian forces continue to fight IS jihadists. A woman named Fatima (pseudonym) said she was from Cairo with a few other women last year